When You’re Unable to Pay Tuition

First thing we want to say to anyone suddenly unable to pay their tuition: you are resilient. It takes strength to pursue your education when financial insecurity is a part of that experience. This is a stressful circumstance, and we want to help. With these steps, we hope to equip you with the knowledge you need so you can tackle this situation with confidence. Take a deep breath, and let’s get started.

1. Ask for an extension

If you are approaching the payment deadline for your tuition, reach out to your college’s financial aid office. Explain your situation, and request an extension. You’re going to need a little more time to figure this out. 

2. Find out if you qualify for Special Circumstance

If you’re financial situation has changed from the time you submitted your FAFSA application (whether that be from a parent losing a job or unforeseen medical bills), apply for special circumstance consideration. The financial aid office will be able to provide a form for you to fill out, and you may be able to receive further aid. 

3. Inquire about a Tuition Payment Plan

Rather than paying a large sum upfront, communicate with your college about a payment plan. It will allow you to pay smaller, more frequent installments over the semester. Keep in mind, these plans may have additional charges. (Though you will not have to worry about accumulating interest). 

4. Consider work study

You may be able to reduce the cost of your tuition by working for the university. There are all kinds of jobs on-campus that may appeal to your interests and allow you to strike a deal with your school!

5. Make a fundraising profile

If you’re unable to pay your tuition, you may be able to ask for help through fundraising websites such as GoFundMe. It may feel intimidating to ask for money from family and friends, but there are generous people out there who may be willing to contribute to your education.

6. Take out a Short-Term Loan/Emergency Loan

Student loans should always be a last resort, but we know that sometimes they are necessary. Emergency loans or short-term loans allow you to take out the money you need and pay it back within a year. This may be a prime option for someone who plans to work during the semester. 

Falling short on money for tuition may cause you a lot of worry, but you do have options. Hopefully with these steps, you feel a little more at ease.